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Hello, Chuncan Feng. Nice to see you here again!

In the following sentence, the verb bet has an indirect object you and an direct object sixpence, but is the that-clause an object clause?

I bet you sixpence (that) it will rain tomorrow.

This is an interesting question. The verb "bet" is indeed complex.

This article says:

Predicates taking more than three arguments are rare at best, but the verb to bet has been cited as taking four arguments:

(7) [I] bet [you] [ten dollars] [that they will win].

Syntactically, I see that "that it will rain tomorrow" is a content clause and that the object "sixpence" could be understood to express quantity or extent: How much do you bet that it will rain tomorrow?

I find the sentence above structurally similar to:

- I can guarantee you 100% that it will rain tomorrow. (To what extent can you guarantee that it will rain tomorrow?)

Therefore, I'm not sure we can consider both "sixpence" and "(that) it will rain tomorrow" as direct objects.

I'd like to hear David's opinion about this.

Last edited by Gustavo, Co-Moderator

Thank you, Gustavo, for your prompt reply.

I'm not sure whether money expressions like "sixpence" in such sentences could be understood to express degrees of certainty. They can also be things other than money. In Practical English Usage (4th ed.), Prof. Michael Swan gives the following example and says that bet can be used to talk about real bets and that it can take two objects:

My father bet my mother dinner at the Ritz that she would marry him.

He doesn't explain the that-clause.

Last edited by Chuncan Feng

I'm not sure whether money expressions like "sixpence" in such sentences could be understood to express degrees of certainty.

I didn't mean "degree of certainty" but "the amount of the bet."

They can also be things other than money. In Practical English Usage (4th ed.), Prof. Michael Swan gives the following example and says that bet can be used to talk about real bets and that it can take two objects:

My father bet my mother dinner at the Ritz that she would marry him.

He doesn't explain the that-clause.

That is an interesting example. I can only say that the "-that" clause is the content of the bet rather than the object. Honestly, I don't know how else to explain it syntactically.

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